Young people in Berne are championing the mountain villages

25 young people from mountain communes throughout Switzerland met on 11 May in Berne for the “SAB Youth Forum” to discuss the future of their villages. Together with their home communes, they have declared war on emigration and have been awarded the title of “Youth-friendly mountain villages” by the Swiss Association for Mountain Areas (SAB). In Berne, the young people discussed successes, solution strategies and prospects for the future.
The situation in mountain communes worries young people throughout Switzerland: schools are closing, the number of meeting places and restaurants is decreasing, and business is relocating to larger centres. But the communes do not remain inactive.

Effective measures such as youth work, night buses and housing promotion

The “Youth-Friendly Mountain Villages” have initiated a variety of measures in a constant exchange with the young people in their commune: better transport connections for young people (for example for going out in the evenings), childcare for working parents, youth clubs as meeting places, improvement of job opportunities, conversion of old buildings into youth-friendly apartments, etc. “The commitment of the communes is extraordinary”, says Thomas Egger, Director of the SAB, “with the label we make this commitment visible and strengthen it in the long term”.

Exchange of solution strategies

The Youth Forum does not focus on the challenges, but on the solutions of the different communes. “I think it’s great that the young people in Safiental GR were able to convince the local council for a youth club”, Joël Abgottspon from Stalden VS praises, “such examples inspire and encourage us”. The exchange between young people from mountain villages in various parts of Switzerland is otherwise rare. “Because of the long travel distances, many young people from Graubünden do not know other mountain regions in Switzerland – we often face the same problems and can learn from each other,” says Moreno Donato (GR), President of the Youth Forum.
After the Youth Forum, members return to their villages with new ideas and motivation. The successful examples from other communes encourage them to commit themselves to concrete measures in their home communes – and soon to benefit from the quality of life they have gained.

About the label “Youth-friendly mountain villages”

The label “Jugendfreundliche Bergdörfer” distinguishes mountain communes that are committed to supporting young people in mountain areas. The young people from these communes help shape their own future in the Youth Forum of the Swiss Association for Mountain Areas (SAB). In this way, they support the mountain region and can counteract migration in the long term.     •

The SAB is committed to the development of mountain and rural areas in Switzerland, with a focus on political representation.

Further information: www.sab.ch.
Communes with the label “Youth-Friendly Mountain Village”: Andermatt (UR), Ernen (VS), Flühli-Sörenberg (LU), Gampel-Bratsch (VS), Hergiswil near Willisau (LU), Leukerbad (VS), Lumnezia (GR), Stalden region (VS): Stalden, Staldenried, Törbel, Embd, Eisten, Saas-Grund (VS), Safiental (GR), Veysonnaz (VS)
Swiss Association for Mountain Areas (SAB) 3001 Bern, Seilerstrasse 4, Tel.: +41 31 382 10 10 info(at)sab.ch

For questions: Thomas Egger, Director of the SAB and National Councillor, Tel.: 141 79 429 12 55, Andrea Koch, Contact person for the label “Youth-Friendly Mountain Villages”, Tel.: +41 76 216 11 20

Further information: www.jugend-im-berggebiet.ch; www.jeunesse-enregion-de-montagne.ch
www.gioventu-e-regione-di-montagna.ch

Source: www.sab.ch from 11.5.2019

(Translation Current Concerns)